CHRYSO VERTICART CARVES A PLACE AT THE LEONARDO

CHRYSO, a global specialist in the chemistry of building materials, supplied its innovative VerticArt to The Trinity Session for an iconic artistic creation in the foyer of The Leonardo in Sandton.

VerticArt was the material of choice when The Trinity Session, a creative production team, embarked on the curation of a sculpted representation of a cross-section through earth, showing the strata formed by tectonic plates shifting and colliding, to form the intricate patterns of geological formations.

Marcus Neustetter, a director of The Trinity Session, explains that this ambitious project called for an earthy, robust medium. CHRYSO VerticArt, a cementitious mortar which is designed for application to vertical surfaces, presented the ideal material.

The chemical makeup of VerticArt allows for a vertically applied maximum thickness of 150 mm, making it ideal for relief three-dimensional (3-D) artwork.

CHYRSO VerticArt was applied in various thicknesses and then carved and textured using palette knives, trowels, chisels, straight edges and wire brushes, to the exact creative brief. A zero to 48 hour carving window ensured that the artists had sufficient time to perfect the application and sculpting processes necessary to create the required 3-D effect.

The mural was intentionally not pigmented, resulting in a very realistic artistic rendition of a cross-
section through the crust of the earth. This is further enhanced with focused lighting, giving the effect of an upwards journey though geological eons as visitors ascend the staircase.

This project used 4,5 tonnes of CHRYSO VerticArt, covering 140 m2, scaling a height of 15 metres (three storeys). It required the specialised skills of eight individual artists, in conjunction with the CHRYSO
technical team and took seven weeks to complete.

The scale, innovative material, product methodology and conceptual approach ensured that the
programme was not just a financial prospect for the materials supplier and the artistic curating team, but rather an opportunity for upliftment and growth for many of the artists, including emerging creative talent.

The artists, Damien Grivas (team leader), Angelique Koekemoer, Ciara Struwig, Marlecia Marais, Patrick Rapai, Paul Setate and Zanre Van Der Walt brought their own technical and creative touch to realising the vision of this work.

Neville Wearne, CHRYSO Southern Africa’s project manager: concrete aesthetics, says that VerticArt was developed to allow artists to create reliefs and textures, which can be sculpted and carved.

“This massive and bold statement artwork is a first for CHRYSO’s VerticArt in both South Africa and worldwide, challenging architects, designers and artists to further explore the decorative potential of concrete,” he concludes.

DE BEERS GROUP DEMONSTRATES UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO SAFETY

De Beers Group is proving that the best mechanism to drive a safe mining business is for management to lead by example, and this starts with the company’s senior leadership team, including CEO Bruce Cleaver. They have together established a CEO Safety Summit initiative, which now in its third year is committed to achieving zero harm throughout the company’s global operations globally.

The CEO Safety Summit, which takes place every year in January and August, brings together a wide range of personnel from De Beers Group’s executive committee as well as general managers, safety and sustainable development leads and safety line managers. Over the course of a week they collaborate and discuss the requirements needed to establish a safety framework that guides the company’s day-to-day operations and will ensure zero harm for every employee.

The company’s recently appointed principal safety lead Willemien Potgieter attended the recent summit held in August and believes it has positioned De Beers as a leader in driving safety within the mining sector.

Potgieter is a qualified electrical engineer, project manager and engineering safety manager and has worked for the metal, pulp and paper, chrome, petroleum and mining sectors, applying her knowledge of engineering into safety leadership roles. From an early age she committed her career to helping heavy industries such as mining work towards achieving zero harm and believes it is possible. In her position she is driving safety across De Beers Group’s global operations in Canada, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

De Beers Group’s August 2019 CEO Safety Summit focused closely on six focus areas – leadership and culture, critical control management/fatal risk prevention, capacity building, learning and sharing and contractor management.

These areas will be built into a framework, each with their own priorities and outputs. “Importantly, all of the initiatives and actions we outline must be measureable and put into systems to create sustainable methodologies that support the framework,” says Potgieter.

Following the growing success from what now totals five summits since it was initiated in 2017, Potgieter will facilitate co-design sessions necessary to establish roadmaps for each operation as part of the process towards finalising a safety framework. This will reduce resistance to change, ensure a clear alignment on deliverables and help build relationships and encourage knowledge sharing she notes.

“50% of the co-designed session work streams will be completed by January with the intention to have all the co-designed sessions completed by the second summit held in August.”

While the steps taken in building a safe business is a work in progress Potgieter notes that the implementation of actions and initiatives are always taking place in parallel to the CEO Safety Summits.

“Improving safety is an ongoing process and an area that receives priority and attention every day,” she concludes.

DECADES OF INNOVATION DRIVING WEG PRODUCT EFFICIENCY

Africa has embraced the innovation that drives WEG products and services, with customers seeing value in constant technological improvement.

Siegfried Kreutzfeld, CEO of the South African based Zest WEG Group, explains that WEG is quick to introduce its new products into the African market, sometimes even before launching elsewhere in the world.

“We pride ourselves on the significant investment we, as WEG, make in research and development,” Kreutzfeld says. “About 2,6% of our net revenue is ploughed back into continuous product improvement as well as new development. This keeps us at the cutting edge of technology.”

The result of this intense commitment to innovation is that 43,7% of all WEG products sold in 2018 were launched in the last five years. Another indicator is that Brazil-based WEG Group holds 174 patents that are used on its products.

Significantly, this has placed WEG among the thousand most innovative companies in the world, ranked by The Global Innovation 1000 of 2014. This world ranking evaluates the total R&D investments of each company, including the strategy, purpose and success of these investments.

“More than 35 years ago, we led the way in South Africa by introducing reliable high performance motors into the mining sector,” he says. “Today, we have a solid market share on the continent based on the trust we have built with our customers. This relationship makes it easier to introduce and test new WEG technologies in Africa.”

While continuously improving its products, WEG also closely monitors how they perform in the field, Kreutzfeld notes. “An indicator of the confidence we have in WEG technology is that we provide a five year warranty on WEG motors,” he says. “This is unique on the continent and difficult for competitors to match.”

WEG’s innovation and the market trust are paying dividends. Despite the country’s poor overall economic performance, Kreutzfeld says Zest WEG Group is targeting 15% growth with its high quality offerings.

Among the latest WEG technologies are energy-efficient IE3 motors which reduce electricity consumption, and the WEG CFW 11 Variable Speed Drive (VSD) which selects the best efficiency, again conserving energy and saving costs.

Kreutzfeld says that during 2019 a new series of WEG VSDs, specifically for mine fan applications, will be introduced to the market.

WEG’s innovative Motor Scan device is another important development, harnessing connectivity and the power of Industry 4.0 technology to monitor motor health. Attached to the motor itself, the WEG Motor Scan gathers vital data including vibration, temperature and running time. This is communicated wirelessly to a hand-held device or to WEG’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

“Extending electric motor life is going to be an important trend in the market, especially in the mining sector,” Kreutzfeld explains. “Only a decade ago mines expected less than two years of life from an electric motor, and we have been able to change that. Using Motor Scan will allow end users to optimise routine maintenance and extend motor life.”

Another technological innovation is the large WEG slipring motors considered ideal for the cement industry. Cement plants place high wear demands on electric motors, and WEG has developed features to address this challenge.

“We innovate by being close to our customers and seeing the problems they face,” he says. “You cannot pursue innovation without understanding customer applications and market trends.”

To drive this process, WEG established a Scientific and Technological Committee in 1998. This forum allows WEG’s engineering team to engage with five university specialists, three from abroad and two from Brazil. The forum meets every two years to discuss market trends, technology and innovation, and importantly how to apply this to WEG products.

“During this meeting, we share new concepts and products with the academic experts,” he says. “This collaboration has many mutual benefits. We gain ideas and feedback, and the universities can gather topics for their students to research.”

Inside WEG itself, there is a team focused on new product concepts and technologies. Kreutzfeld says many of these might remain in development for years, even decades, and are only commercialised in response to market trends.

“This pipeline of innovation is vital to meet changing customer needs and is what sets WEG apart,” Kreutzfeld concludes.

ECONOMICAL NEW FINISHING PLASTER SETS NEW BENCHMARK

MetaCote is a new, smoother and more economic finishing plaster that promises to take the South African market by storm.

According to Gavin Coulson, managing director of Metadynamics, the innovative product sets a new benchmark for smoothness and consistency. It is also a high purity product, containing 95% synthetic gypsum.

“MetaCote is a locally developed, high-strength gypsum plaster used for basecoat and finishing plaster,” says Coulson. “In our trials, users have been particularly impressed by its smoothness and longer workability. It has certainly exceeded their expectations.”

He says it is ideal as a multi-purpose plaster for internal applications onto brickwork, concrete blocks and dry walling. It is also a perfect finishing plaster for sand-cement base coats. Layers can be finished from 3 mm to 6 mm in thickness.

“We are sure our competitive pricing will make MetaCote an attractive option not just for the larger contractors, but also for smaller and emerging contractors,” he says. “We are equally confident that the product will satisfy the end-consumer who wants a superior finish to their structures. It will at the same time add value to the businesses of contractors and subcontractors.”

It will be available at major building material retail outlets in 25 kg and 40 kg bags for easy mobility.

Coulson also emphasises the environmental benefit inherent in Metacote. It comprises synthetic gypsum, rather than natural gypsum which has to be mined. South Africa’s natural gypsum deposits are located in the Northern Cape which adds transportation costs to the carbon footprint when this is used. The synthetic gypsum used in MetaCote, by contrast, is sourced as a by-product from phosphate fertiliser manufacture.

“Synthetic gypsum is also more eco-friendly as a binder, when compared to cement,” he says. “The production of one ton of gypsum binder generates one tonne less CO2 emissions and avoids the depletion of a further 1,5 tonnes of natural resources when compared to cement.”

ENGINE IMPORTS THREATEN SA’S ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

South Africa needs to wake up quickly to the dire socio-economic impacts of simply importing new engines rather than remanufacturing existing components locally.

According to Andrew Yorke, operations director at Germiston-based Metric Automotive Engineering, large diesel engines are gradually becoming uneconomical to repair.

“We have already seen this trend in light commercial vehicles, where complete engines are now imported as opposed to remanufacturing individual components,” says Yorke. “The remanufacture of components was a viable industry twenty years ago, but that market has long disappeared.”

The business focuses on the remanufacture of components for large diesel engines that drive the rail, mining, power generation and marine sectors, and Yorke says he is seeing the same disturbing trend in these segments. He notes that 30 years ago, some 80% of the cost of an engine overhaul would be for engineering and 20% would be for the parts. Today, that percentage split is exactly the opposite.

“This is because the OEMs are pricing their parts to the aftermarket in a way that makes remanufacturing less and less viable,” he says. This is not because the engine is designed to be thrown away. On the contrary, its major components – cylinder head, engine block, conrods, crankshaft and camshaft – are all designed to be remanufactured more than once. It is the other wear parts like seals, bearings, liners, pistons and gaskets that need regular replacement.

Yorke warns that if South Africa no longer remanufactures engine components, the country will no longer have a use for its automotive engineering capacity and expertise. But these skills have applications well beyond this sector.

“The knock-on effects of losing our remanufacturing sector will be severe,” he says. “Just as the capital invested in equipment becomes wasted, so the skills and expertise will be lost to the industry.”

He notes that there is constant skills development required to operate the modern engineering technology in Metric Automotive Engineering’s facility. If the country is no longer remanufacturing components to rebuild engine components, then those jobs in assembling engines also become superfluous.

“As the skills for engine assembly disappear, so do the skills related to the testing of engines,” he says. “Engine testing is a complex set of skills capable of problem-solving and fault-finding, and these experts often become field service and maintenance technicians.”

He warns that should it become common practice to only import new engines rather than remanufacture engines and engine components, the skills required to maintain these engines will also end up needing to be imported.

“As a country, we need to be more strategic about our economic choices, so that we support sectors that are strong, and where skills and jobs can be developed,” says Yorke. “Automotive engineering focused on engine component remanufacture is one such sector.”

“Instead, we should be protecting industries that make it possible to remanufacture engine components,” he says. “This means remanufacturing the worn component to ‘as-new’ specification, assembling the components in a competent manner, and testing them to ensure optimal performance.”

INCREASING IMPORTANCE OF SENSORS IN CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY

Traditionally, modern construction machinery is controlled and moved predominantly by hydraulic systems, which means that electronics and control technologies have played only a minor role in many applications. This is changing with safety-relevant aspects and driver-assist functions now setting the stage.

Gerry Bryant, managing director of leading sensor specialist Countapulse Controls, says that it has become obvious over time that the role of sensor technology will become increasingly important in construction equipment.

“Machinery deployed in these industry sectors are subjected to harsh operating conditions including varying climatic conditions, long working hours and exposure to dust, dirt and liquids. This means the demand on sensors is often extreme requiring robustness and a high degree of protection,” Bryant says.

Commenting on typical applications, he says encoders are used for positioning, angular, speed and length measurements in construction machinery applications, and assume tasks that facilitate the driver’s work and enhance productivity.

Examples include straight-to-the-point positioning of loads for hoisting equipment or restricting work zones in order to protect against collisions. Another classic example is where the devices are used in safety-relevant functions such as providing warning signals to the driver as soon as the machine enters a critical situation. A classic example of this would be where excessive loads could cause hoisting equipment (hoisting cranes, excavators) to tilt.

Agricultural and forestry machine applications use encoders to facilitate automation of many applications, making work significantly easier and increasing productivity. This could include speed-controlled sowing in agriculture right through to automated measuring of tree trunks. Automated processes that increase productivity in agriculture are becoming more and more sophisticated using satellite-controlled systems.

Bryant says that encoders used in construction equipment prove their capabilities under extremely harsh conditions by providing reliable feedback on the positioning, excursion angles or speeds.

The Hengstler range of robust encoders, available from Countapulse Controls, has a proven track record in this industry sector with devices completely free from sliding contacts ensuring high reliability and longevity.

Programmable absolute encoders do not require any re-adjustment as compared to similar technology products such as potentiometers which are adversely affected by temperature fluctuations and wear and tear. In addition, encoders offer full 360° scanning capability facilitating accurate feedback over a full turn or even several turns. Multiturn versions make it possible to read the exact number of turns at any time, even after voltage drops or complete power failures.

Encoders used in these applications must meet the essential technical requirements which include a high degree of protection, wide temperature range, high shock and vibration resistance, high resistance to water and humidity, as well as high load resistance of the shaft.

Encoders should provide protection that meets IP67 ratings or even IP69 ratings. A temperature range extending from minus 40°C to 100°C ensures reliable operation under harsh environmental conditions, such as direct exposure to sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. To prevent water condensate caused by internal heating and cooling phases, the enclosure should be specifically sealed. Shock resistance varies depending on the application, but should be 1,000m/s2 minimum and vibration resistance should be 100m/s2 minimum. Since construction equipment is often cleaned using steam or high-pressure washers, high resistance to compressed water is great importance.

With its “Heavy Duty” product range, Hengstler offers suitable encoders (HSDxx, HDxx, ARxx) which meet all these requirements. Extremely high mechanical ruggedness, for example, is achieved by using a state-of-the-art opto-asic and coding disk made of plastic instead of the common glass type, which may break under extreme load conditions.

This Hengstler range of encoders is also available with a stainless-steel enclosure rated to NEMA 4x and 6P with double sealing, ensuring reliable operation in environments that require high resistance to high-pressure washers or corrosive chemicals.

Encoder types Hengstler HSDxx and HDxx are intrinsically safe variants and can be used with the appropriate IS barrier, certified according to ATEX EEx ia IIB T4. This makes them suitable for applications in corrosive atmospheres or applications requiring high resistance to splash and surge water.

Hengstler offers another extremely rugged range with its magnetic encoder series. The Hengstler AR-XX features not only a particularly rugged enclosure, but also generously dimensioned self-contained ball bearings, making it resistant to high mechanical stresses and even high axial and radial forces. 12-bit resolution allows the highest acceleration rates as well as underwater operation.

All products are electrically compatible with standard encoders and available with the common interface types (SSI, BiSS, CANopen, analog or parallel).

Bryant says that rugged technologies make it easier for electronic components to enter and become established in the field of construction equipment. They also respond to the requirements for high safety, productivity and operator convenience.

KREBS® PUMPS EXCEL IN AFRICA

KREBS® slurry pumps have become leaders in mill discharge applications in Africa, with the latest Ultimate Mill Discharge (UMD) pump leading the way in these heavy-duty applications.

“West African gold mines and the copper operations of Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo are among the areas where these robust pumps dominate,” says Andre Hall, FLSmidth Regional Product Line Manager — Pumps, Cyclones and Valves. ”Their popularity,” he says, “is based on their long wear life and high efficiency.

“Ghana is a particular success story for our UMD pumps,” Hall adds. “‘Nearly all the gold mines there use our pumps to discharge slurry from their mills.”

The KREBS UMD is popular at these mines largely because it lowers the total cost of ownership due to the millMax™ proprietary design that eliminates inefficient recirculation and grinding of slurry within the pump.

Prior to the millMAX wear ring design, slurry pumps experienced two major problems: mechanical grinding of solids between the suction liner and impeller, and flow recirculating back to the impeller eye on the suction side. Both of these problems decrease pump life and increase power consumption.

The wear ring stops recirculation by closing the suction-side gap, while still allowing for a large clearance between the impeller and the suction liner, eliminating the grinding of solids. Adjusting the wear ring while the pump is running restores performance and provides longer wear life and higher continuous efficiency, in all, lowering the total cost of ownership.

“The UMD’s casing symmetry also means less inventory for customers,” Hall says. “Mines that have pumps rotating in both left-hand and right-hand orientations must stock different casings, liners and impellers, adding to the operational costs.” The advantage of the UMD is that it uses the same casing, suction liner, wear ring and back liner. This reduces overall net working capital.

The KREBS gravelMAX™ pumps continue to do well in Mpumalanga’s coal sector, where 14 of these pumps recently replaced competitor units on a single site. Commonly applied in a cyclone feed application within the dense medium separation (DMS) circuit, the pump’s wider passage allows pumping of larger solids.

“We are also active in iron ore in South Africa with pumps in the DMS circuit,” Hall says. “A Lesotho diamond mine also operates KREBS pumps, which have demonstrated a four-fold increase in wear life compared to a competitor’s previous units.”

As global leaders in sump pumps, FLSmidth dominates with the vMAX™ range, which features a recessed impeller design allowing the pumps to run dry. When the sump has been emptied of slurry, the recessed impeller allows the slurry to return safely down the discharge pipe without contacting the impeller, ensuring that it does not vibrate when dry.

Another recent innovation in the KREBS slurryMAX™ range of pumps is being introduced to the African market after an enthusiastic response in the US and Australia. With multiple liner and impeller material options, the slurryMAX split-case pump can handle the majority of applications for any plant across multiple industries.

FLSmidth KREBS pumps are designed using vast experience in pumping technology, to meet the challenges with throughput, downtime, wear life and overall efficiency. The complete slurry pumping solutions optimise performance, maximise wear life and efficiency, and lower operating costs.

M&C’S REWIND OF 36MW COMPRESSOR MOTOR STATOR YIELDS ‘BEST EVER’ TEST RESULTS

Marthinusen & Coutts recently provided a solution to an irregularity that occurred in the stator of a large 36MW compressor motor deployed at Sasol’s Secunda plant.

The results of final tests, conducted by H.V. Test Filed Services on the stator after M&C had completed all the necessary repairs on it, were found to be the best among many such tests conducted on similar equipment over a period of several decades.

Initially a Sasol maintenance team discovered during a routine inspection in January 2018 that the flux shield mountings on the stator were faulty, whereupon Sasol awarded M&C a contract to identify the cause of the irregularity and offer a remedy.

“We tested the stator winding, which we found to be fine, but confirmed that there was a defect in the flux shield and recommended that it be repaired, as there was a risk of it damaging the winding if left to continue operating in its existing condition. To repair the flux shield meant also having to remove the winding and perform a rewind on the stator,” said Rob Melaia, M&C’s engineering and technical executive.

Sasol accepted M&C’s recommendation and in August last year assigned it to perform the required repairs. “In addition to replacing the old bars with new bars purchased from a reputable coil manufacturer in the US, we did a very specific modification to repair the flux shield to prevent a recurrence of the defect in the future,” Melaia stated.

“On investigating the defect we found that the electrical current, instead of flowing only in the flux shield as it ought to have done to prevent the core from overheating, had started flowing in the mounting bolts, so causing wear by electrical arcing in the mounting holes and the mounting studs,” he explained.

The solution M&C’s repair team provided was to fit copper braid straps from several points on the flux shield to the stator body to reroute the current in such a way as to prevent a repeat of the damage as witnessed. To confirm the effectiveness of the solution M&C arranged to have the refurbished stator tested by local independent test authority H.V. Test Field Services.

Partial discharge and Tan Delta tests were conducted, being the recognised tests for determining the integrity and efficiency of medium voltage windings. The results were:

  • A maximum partial discharge of below 250 PicoCoulombs (pC) at 120% of phase voltage.
  • In the Tan Delta tests the dielectric dissipation factor was found to be 65 x 10-4 at 20% of phase voltage and 105 x 10-4 at 100% of phase voltage.

“These test results were the best ever to be achieved among the numerous machines on which HV Test has conducted tests of this kind!” Melaia pointed out.

“We have every reason to be proud of this outcome as it says volumes about M&C’s expertise in this field, both in terms of correctly diagnosing and repairing faults in a wide range of large rotating equipment, as well as providing the appropriate and most effective solutions for them,” he concluded.

RESPONSIVENESS TO PIT DEWATERING NEEDS DIFFERENTIATES IPR

Pit dewatering remains a vital activity for all opencast operations, as ground water not only poses an operational challenge but can also become a safety hazard if not attended to appropriately.
Interestingly, it is not a simple case of one pump fits all dewatering application requirements and it is advisable to deal with a reputable pump supplier to ensure that the most appropriate solution is selected.

Lee Vine, managing director of Integrated Pump Rental, explains that there is no such thing as a standard pit dewatering system as each instance requires a site-specific solution.

“There are numerous options available in terms of the actual pump and ancillary equipment, as well as the choice between rental and outright purchase,” he says. “The differentiator that our team offers is the ability to assess a given application and provide a pit dewatering solution with the correctly sized pump.”

There are several factors that can have an impact on the pump selection, and this includes available power sources, the volume of water to be pumped, the condition of the dirty water including size and type of particles in the water.

“What adds complexity to pit dewatering applications is that, and in many cases, the need to dewater a pit can be urgent and customers are forced into making an incorrect pump selection or tying themselves into a contract that does not work in the longer term,” Vine says.

He says that while the decision to hire or purchase is an important commercial one, so is the actual selection of the pump itself. “If the pump is not sized correctly for the dewatering application at hand, it will not perform as required. This, in turn, leads to further operational challenges including production losses and sometimes even the need to change the pump resulting in further costs.”

One of the most important factors to consider is the available energy source, and if there is no access to power options such as diesel-driven or pumps fitted with hydraulic power packs must be explored.

When selecting the pump, it is also important to understand the specifics of the water ingress conditions and whether this is a long-term issue or simply a short-term challenge. This scenario will dictate the pump size, its rated output and what ancillary equipment is required.

As an example, Vine points to a recent dewatering application on a mine in Lesotho where a constant flow of water into the mine’s pit area demanded that water be urgently and reliably pumped out.

Over time the pit depth had increased, and the groundwater level had been exacerbated by the winter snowfall in the highlands of Lesotho. As a result, the total dynamic head for the duties of the installed dewatering pump installation changes and the mine required an urgent solution.

Initially a Sykes XH150 diesel driven pump was deployed, pumping at 120 litres per second at 150 metre head. Subsequent to this, a second Sykes pump was dispatched to site to ensure that the level of water remained at an acceptable level.

With the two Sykes pumps on site, the mine was assured of sufficient pumping capacity, should the groundwater level increase.

Commenting on the responsiveness exhibited by Integrated Pump Rental in this instance, Vine says this is not unusual at all. “While not a standard across the industry, our teams are known for this, and the primary reason why we can respond rapidly is our comprehensive fleets of pumps that are capable of handling varying dewatering applications.”

He sketches the scenario where the call from the mine came in and with 24 hours, the first Sykes pump was installed on site. “This is very significant, when one considers that the mine is situation some 500 km from the company’s front door and across the border into a neighbouring country.”

“More often than not, and this was indeed the case here, our teams have existing relationships with the customers that have been built up and maintained over time. Our repeat customers know they can rely on us,” he continues.

Integrated Pump Rental not only rents out Sykes diesel driven pump sets, the company is also responsible for the sale of these robust dewatering pumps across southern Africa. The robust units are designed for reliable performance, under even the harshest operating conditions.

Vine concludes by saying that operating in Africa requires a certain mindset and skill set, and most importantly suppliers need to be responsive to customer requests. “Many mines are situated in outlying areas and this calls for a very customer focused approach, particularly when groundwater in a pit becomes an issue.”

SPH KUNDALILA DELIVERS TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE AT PILANESBERG PLATINUM MINE

Located on the Western Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex, the Pilanesberg Platinum Mine recently celebrated 10 years of production excellence which it attributes largely to the technical excellence delivered by its outsourced contractors. Critical to this operation is the upfront dry processing requirement which Raubex Group subsidiary SPH Kundalila has been providing to the mine for the last nine years.

As the mine’s longest standing contractor, SPH Kundalila’s primary contract entails managing all of the mine’s primary crushing requirements. This includes crushing all ROM material from the mine before it is transported to the concentrator. “With our 260 people on site, 75% from the local Bakgatla tribe, we operate four 63 t mobile crushing machines on the outskirts of the pit which have a combined design capacity of 380 000 tpm,” says SPH Kundalila production manager Walter Eriksen.

A nine-year relationship, which has seen the company’s contract expand more recently, can be attributed to the trust and partnership the company has built with Pilanesberg Platinum Mine but also its high level technical skills set.

“Our crushers have been replaced over the years as the mine’s production requirements have grown. Throughout this process we have maintained our machines’ high availability thanks to an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the mine’s production requirements. To ensure our performance further, we have established on-site technical support infrastructure including a workshop and +40 workshop crew. “This facility enables us to conduct preventative maintenance equipment routines as well as full services and minor repairs which results in minimal downtime,” Erikson states.

As is tradition in the platinum sector, the mine requires heavy-duty crushing machines capable of crushing large, hard rocks. SPH Kundalila’s crushing equipment delivers flawlessly in this area.

Having proven its technical expertise and commitment in contributing towards the mine’s objectives, the mine has expanded SPH Kundalila’s work on site which now includes materials handling services delivered from its fleet of front end loaders, dump trucks and tippers. In June 2018 the company’s workload expanded even further to include loading and hauling waste material from the pit.

“Since June of last year we have successfully been moving waste material from the northern side of the pit. We have also steadily grown our volumes which started at 145 000 tons per month to around 500 000 tons per month. Through this service we are giving the mine quick and easy access to the reef,” says SPH Kundalila pit manager Danie de Jager.

Over a year into this new work stream, SPH Kundalila’s technical capabilities have continued to shine brightly. Its earthmoving fleet comprising two excavators, two bulldozers and eight 45 t dump trucks which were carefully selected to allow accurate waste-only removal.

“Our service delivery, technical capability and ongoing dedication to helping Pilanesberg Platinum Mine meet its 150 000 ounces per annum of PGM production requirements is a proud achievement for SPH Kundalila and we hope to continue working with the mine as its explores new and exciting chapters of its life,” concludes SPH Kundalila site manager Pieter Boonzaier.